Embed from Getty Images It has been exactly one year since Stevie Y. came home. Home to both the city he played in and the city his family is firmly planted in Detroit. Nobody, not media, not fans, not even Steve Yzerman himself thought the job of rebuilding the Detroit Red Wings would be easy.
Before COVID-19 put the NHL on pause, the Detroit Red Wings were 17-49-5, to put it differently, the Red Wings had lost 54 of 71 games. It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that is woefully bad.
39 points earned by the Red Wings is still 23 points behind the Ottawa Senators and their 62 points. with 145 goals the Detroit hockey team is proud owners of fewest goals scored in the league. While the 267 goals the porous Red Wings defense let in is good for most goals allowed.
With all the bad, Steve Yzerman said he was not surprised by the task at hand. The Detroit Red Wings are the only NHL team already mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
Steve Yzerman said ” I knew what I was getting into, I think I have a general idea what it takes to build a team.” The same day Yzerman said that he also said “Patience is very difficult to sell.”
Yzerman wanted and demanded to see growth in player development in players and prospects. That has happened. The good news is while players have taken steps forward the Red Wings are in good position for the first pick in the 2020 NHL draft.
The plan is to get as many draft picks as you can, not just draft picks but high picks to increase the odds a player or players will turn into something special. That is the lot of a rebuilding team.
What remains to be seen is the fate of current Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill. Yzerman has supported the coach throughout the season. The Red Wings hold a team option for the coach. But this summer there will be several big name coaches available, Yzerman could bring in his guy.
The Detroit Red Wings have struggled in year one of Steve Yzerman’s return. They may not be a whole lot better next season. But that is okay. Remember, draft picks are what is on the horizon this season and next.